New Orleans' LGBT community praising Caitlyn Jenner

New Orleans' LGBT community praising Caitlyn Jenner

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The world got its first glimpse Monday of Caitlyn Jenner, the athlete and reality star formerly known as Bruce Jenner. Jenner graced the cover of Vanity Fair magazine as part of a very public journey. It's one that experts in the LGBT community say will provide hope to countless young people.

Showing the first picture of Caitlyn Jenner to people at City Park caused a bit of confusion. Most say while they're supportive of Jenner's choice to live openly as a woman, they're still trying to come to grips with the transformation of the person once considered the world's greatest athlete.

Catherine Stillers says, "I was like, wow, he looks really good - she looks really good."

"Wow, what a difference. Could've fooled me," David Ker said.

Melissa Hunter adds, "Good for him. It's a personal choice and I'm happy he's free to do it."

"Finally she was able to face the demon that we all face when we're transgender," said Elizabeth Jenkins, president of Louisiana Trans Advocates.

Jenkins said she can relate to Jenner's journey. Married with three children, Jenkins began to transition into a woman in 2008.

"I came to the point where I said it's better to be alive than dead, and it's better to be seen as a freak and be your own true self," Jenkins explained.

SarahJane Brady, executive director of Forum for Equality, says, "I think this is a wonderful opportunity for America to really understand who a transgender person is."

Brady believes Caitlyn Jenner is a wonderful role model for young people in the LGBT community. According to the Youth Suicide Prevention Program, more than 50 percent of transgender youth will have had at least one suicide attempt by their 20th birthday.

"Being able to have that connection and to know there are people like you out there that have the same story or a similar story to you, provides that hope," Brady said.

Elizabeth Jenkins says she wishes she would've had someone like Caitlyn Jenner to look up to as a young boy struggling for answers in the 40s. She's happy she can finally live the life she always wanted - something she thinks Caitlyn Jenner will relish.

Jenkins says it's important for the public to understand that being transgender is a condition. She says it's not something trans people choose or necessarily want.

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